LOS ANGELES—Conditions were perfect at Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.'s recent launch of its Proxes ST II tire in Los Angeles—not a cloud nor police officer in sight.
The Cypress Hill, Calif.-based tire maker's new high-performance tire for sport trucks, crossover vehicles (CUV) and sport-utility vehicles (SUV) made it difficult to obey speed limits as reporters traversed the mountain roads and city streets of Southern California.
The Proxes ST II is Toyo's fourth new product in more than a year, but its first high-performance tire for truck, SUV and CUV fitments since the ST II's predecessor—the Proxes ST—launched in 1997, the company said.
“We knew after more than 10 years it was time for a new product,” said Steve Weinger, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Toyo, at a presentation prior to the driving event.
The two tires share few similarities in appearance—with the ST II featuring a new directional all-season tread pattern—and during the presentation Toyo representatives further amplified the differences between the generations.
“Because owners looking to buy sport trucks are very image conscience and they want to improve the cosmetics of their vehicle, we had to create a new look that was both sporty and luxurious,” Weinger said. “From a performance perspective, we wanted to reduce both new and worn tire noise levels. In addition to reducing noise, we focused on minimizing irregular wear.”
The ST II features Toyo's Silent Wall technology, which reduces noise by suppressing pipe resonance using serrations along the tire's main groove walls to disturb air flow, the company said. The tire's five variable-pitch shoulder repeats pitch patterns every five pairs of shoulder blocks, suppressing harmonics.
Multi-wave sipes, tie bars and multi-slanted block edges help to decrease tread block movement and produce more consistent tire wear, the company said. Linear grooves on the center block help reduce pressure on the block edge, creating more even tire wear and improving handling.
Toyo's target for the ST II include tech-savvy consumers who are image conscious, have an active lifestyle and like to customize their vehicles, according to company officials.
The tire began arriving in dealerships about June 1 with 28 sizes in rim diameters ranging from 17 to 26 inches, but the company plans to release more sizes in the near future, including two 16-inch models.
“We have six additional sizes in July, eight in August and two in September,” said Matias Stella, product manager, light truck and market strategist for Toyo. “The initial lineup will be 44 sizes. However, new sizes will be introduced to the market as new fitments are identified.”
The tire is available in V, W and Y speed ratings.
Along with the tire launch, Toyo also has begun what the company called the most ambitious television advertising campaign in its history, debuting a 30-second commercial June 22 during the CBS primetime show “Cold Case.” The commercial is scheduled to run on other networks and stations, including ABC, Fox Sports and ESPN.
Toyo also will run several national print ads through August featuring its entire Proxes line of tires.